last update: February 04, 2021
Shiodome is one of the newest and most modern neighborhoods in the city. The area was entirely transformed, in the early 2000s, from an abandoned railway freight terminal to a sort of miniature city full of futuristic skyscrapers, inside which today there are various places of interest, including tourist ones.
Things to do and things to see in Shiodome
The main area of Shiodome, known by the name of Shio-site
, consists of a complex of skyscrapers that mostly house the headquarters of large companies, hotels and restaurants. Inside some of these skyscrapers there are several interesting attractions, including two museums, a Panasonic showroom, the Nippon TV headquarters, a free panoramic observatory, a huge clock designed by Hayao Miyazaki.
This area is characterized by several elevated pedestrian walkways that connect the Shiodome station to the various skyscrapers. Furthermore, the district is crossed from north to south by the tracks of the automatic train Yurikamome
. Walking through the skyscrapers of Shiodome, especially at night, is a unique experience, it almost feels like walking in a city of the future
. This area is also a great set for building photography and modern architecture enthusiasts.
In the western part of Shiodome is the so-called Italian Town
, an area vaguely resembling an Italian historic center. In the eastern part, facing the sea of Tokyo Bay, there are the very famous Hamarikyu Gardens
. North of Shiodome there is a famous example of metabolist architecture, the Nakagin Capsule Tower
. Walking south you will find a small Italian garden full of Renaissance statues and walking for 10-15 minutes more you will arrive in the Hamamatsucho
the skyscrapers of Shiodome and the tracks of the Yurikamome line
Shiodome in the evening
This skyscraper, 192 meters in height (32 floors), is also called Nippon TV Tower, as it houses the headquarters of the national broadcaster Nippon TV. You have free access to the lobby, where there are some sofas and some tvs. Inside there is also a large shop (Nittere-ya) where to find various objects related to the characters and series of Nippon TV, and in particular to the anime Anpanman, very popular among japanese children.
Outside the building there is also a huge unique clock designed by Hayao Miyazaki.
Ghibli clock by Hayao Miyazaki
(the clock comes alive at 12:00, 15:00, 18:00 and 20:00, on weekends there is an extra show at 10:00)
The Ghibli clock (officially called Nittele Oodokei, literally "NI-Tele Really Big Clock") is a large clock and sculpture 10 meters high and 18 meters wide, made of copper and steel, installed outside the Nittele Tower in Shiodome. The clock was designed by Hayao Miyazaki and built by Kunio Shachimaru (who is also the creator of the great robot soldier atop the Ghibli Museum). It took six years to complete this huge 28-tonne clock, which was unveiled in December 2006. The clock is meticulously detailed and is obviously inspired by the magical world of Studio Ghibli films, but one in particular seems strongly linked to it, namely the masterpiece Howl's Moving Castle. The clock comes to life four times a day, starting to move 3 minutes and 40 seconds before the set times, and in the evening it lights up becoming even more magical and mysterious.
the large clock designed by Hayao Miyazaki
A skyscraper 213 meters high designed by the famous French architect Jean Nouvel, which houses the headquarters of Dentsu, the largest advertising company in the world in terms of annual revenues. At the bottom of the building there is a shopping complex called Caretta Shiodome, which houses several shops and restaurants, a musical theater, and an advertising museum. On the 46th and 47th floor there are also several panoramic restaurants, while on one side it is also possible to enjoy a panoramic view from above for free. The open-access windows overlook the side of the Tokyo Sky Tree and Rainbow Bridge, and there are is also a sofa. To reach the top two floors it is also possible to take a glazed lift with incredible panoramic views all the way up to the top.
During the Christmas period, spectacular Christmas lights are set up in the atrium of this skyscraper.
Advertising Museum Tokyo
(free admission, opening hours 11-18, closed on Sunday and Monday)
The Ad Museum Tokyo is the only museum in Japan dedicated to advertising and marketing, and was opened in 2002 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yoshida Hideo, the fourth president of Dentsu. The museum has a library and an exhibition space that introduces the history of advertising in Japan from the Edo period to the present.
the Christmas lights of Caretta Shiodome
the free view from the top of the Dentsu Building (credits)
Shiodome City Center
This skyscraper, 217 meters high, is the tallest in the Shiodome business center. In the lower part of the building there is a shopping center, while on the top two floors there are some luxurious panoramic restaurants. During the Christmas period, spectacular Christmas lights are also set up in the atrium of this skyscraper, competing with those of Caretta Shiodome (the latter are however the most famous ones).
Panasonic Tokyo Shiodome Building
This building houses the Tokyo headquarters of Panasonic Electric Works, a company specializing in automation controls, lighting products, IT equipment, building products and household appliances, a subsidiary of the multinational Panasonic, famous all over the world mainly for its consumer electronics products. The building was built in 2003 to centralize offices throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area and create a new corporate image for the 21st century, using advanced energy saving and environmental sustainability technologies. Inside it also houses two spaces open to the public, a furniture and home appliance showroom and an art museum.
Panasonic Living Showroom
(free admission, opening hours 10-17, closed on Wednesdays)
The Panasonic Living Showroom is located in the first two basement floors of the Panasonic Tokyo Shiodome Building. The main entrance is on the ground floor. From here you can go down to the lower floors for the Panasonic Living Showroom, or go up to the fourth floor for the art museum. On the ground floor there is also a small room that exhibits examples of furnished rooms called Tokyo Renovation Museum. Panasonic is a world famous brand for its electronic equipment. However, in the Japanese market Panasonic is also a large manufacturer of interior products such as faucets, bathtubs, toilets, doors, kitchens, living rooms. The Panasonic Living Showroom exhibits right this kind of things and also Panasonic home appliances.
Panasonic Shiodome Museum of Art
(variable admission fee but on average around 1000¥, opening hours 10-18, closed on Wednesdays)
This museum is located on the 4th floor of the Panasonic Tokyo Shiodome Building. The permanent collection consists of 240 works by the famous French artist Georges Rouault (1871-1958). Another section of the museum is devoted to special temporary exhibitions that vary throughout the year, usually by European or Japanese artists (check the calendar here).
the main entrance to Shiodome's Panasonic Living Showroom
The largest traditional Japanese-style landscape garden in Tokyo and perhaps the most fascinating, surrounded by the skyscrapers of Shiodome on one side, and the sea of Tokyo Bay on the other. Read more about Hamarikyu Gardens.
Former Shimbashi Station
(free admission, opening hours 10-17, closed on Mondays)
Among the huge skyscrapers, behind the Shiodome City Center and next to the Panasonic skyscraper, there is a small building that reproduces the old Shimbashi station. This station was the terminus of the first railway line ever built in Japan in 1872, the Yokohama-Tokyo line. Inside the building there are now exhibitions on the history of the station and the Shiodome district.
Shiba Italia Park
A small Italian garden located in a corner between the railway tracks on one side and an elevated highway on the other, near the Hama Rikyu Gardens and halfway between the stations of Shiodome and Hamamatsucho.
As a plaque located inside the garden says, it is an "Italian garden inspired by the Tuscan Renaissance style". Inside there are some reproductions of famous statues of the Italian Renaissance, a fountain, and several benches.
This area, also called Italia Street (Itariagai, イタリア街) is just a few minutes' walk southwest from Shiodome station and the surrounding skyscrapers, on the other side of the elevated railway tracks. The name derives from the architectural style of the block, which aims to recreate an environment similar to Italian or European historical centres. There are cobblestone streets, Italian cafes and restaurants, and Western-style buildings. The largest building in the neighborhood is a huge structure with classic arches and columns, which houses the Wins Shiodome, a horse racing betting center of the Japan Racing Association (JRA).
Nakagin Capsule Tower
The Nakagin Capsule Tower (中銀カプセルタワ) is a building designed by the Japanese architect Kishō Kurokawa and one of the very few examples of the post-WWII Japanese metabolist movement. The tower was completed in 1972, in just two years of work, by assembling 140 prefabricated steel capsules. In Kurokawa's original idea, these capsules would have to be replaced in the future as needed, allowing for a perpetual renovation of the building. But fifty years after construction, none of the capsules have been replaced and the building is in very bad condition, so much so that for several years someone has been thinking of demolishing it. It is located more or less halfway between Shiodome and Ginza. This building is a destination for many architecture enthusiasts from all over the world. The building is still partially inhabited, so just look at it from the outside (in the past there have been problems with tourists who have tried to enter the building). The Show Case group offers guided tours inside the tower lasting one hour (more information).
Staying in Shiodome
Pros and cons
Amidst the skyscrapers of Shiodome you can find some large hotels that are very popular with foreign tourists, even if the rates are not low (cheaper hotels can be found in the nearby Hamamatsucho area). Shimbashi station is very convenient for getting around the rest of the city and in a few minutes you can reach many interesting areas, in particular we point out the proximity to Odaiba (generally complicated to reach from other areas). For the rest, Shiodome is a hypermodern area, somewhat aseptic from a certain point of view. You will certainly prefer to spend most of your days in other neighborhoods.
- Hotel Villa Fontaine Grand Tokyo-Shiodome: the cheapest in the area, very elegant interiors and the hotel lobby, while the rooms are quite average. 10,000-13,000¥ per night.
- The Royal Park Hotel Iconic Tokyo Shiodome: a very elegant hotel, with all the rooms located from the 24th floor upwards and also with panoramic views of Tokyo Tower. A series of "concept" rooms have interiors curated by famous Japanese interior designers. 10,000-20,000¥ per night.
- Conrad Tokyo: one of the best hotels in all of Tokyo, unfortunately also very expensive. It is located between the 28th and 37th floors of a skyscraper. Rooms are huge and luxurious, with large panoramic windows overlooking Tokyo Bay, Hamarikyu Gardens or the city's skyscrapers. On the 29th floor there is a splendid spa with panoramic indoor swimming pool. 28,000-40,000¥ per night.
Eating and drinking in Shiodome
Shiodome is one of the best areas in Tokyo to go for a dinner with a panoramic view from the top floors of very tall skyscrapers. There are two skyscrapers in Shiodome that house scenic restaurants:
- The Dentsu Building, which houses the Caretta Shiodome shopping complex. Inside Caretta Shiodome you will find several cafes, fast food restaurants and cheap restaurants on the lower floors B1 and B2. On the 46th floor there is an area called Sky Restaurats (restaurant list), with 5 Japanese cuisine restaurants (yakiniku, sushi, teppanyaki, Hokkaido cuisine) with views from about 200 meters high. Prices are quite high at dinner (4000-6000¥), while at lunch you will find very affordable "lunch menus" for only 1000¥ or a little more. Finally, on the 47th floor there is the luxury French restaurant Horizon Tokyo, with a 270 degree view over the city.
- The Shiodome City Center, which also houses an area with shops and restaurants. At the base of the tower you will find numerous restaurants where you can eat on a budget, there is much more choice than in Caretta Shiodome. Here, too, there are also panoramic restaurants, between the 41st and 42nd floors at about 200 meters high (restaurant list). However, these restaurants are more expensive than those of Caretta Shiodome and even at lunch it is difficult to eat cheaply.
Lounge bar overlooking Tokyo Tower
If you are looking for a lounge bar with a view of Tokyo Tower, check out the Majestic Bar & Lounge
, located on the 41st floor of the Shiodome City Center skyscraper. A beer costs 1000-12000¥, cocktails cost 1400-2000¥.
How to get to Shiodome
The main stations in the area are Shiodome station and Shimbashi station, less than 5 minutes' walk from each other and well connected by pedestrian bridges.
Shiodome station is the second station after Shimbashi along the Yurikamome automatic elevated line, which connects the mainland with the artificial island of Odaiba. Under the skyscrapers of Shiodome there is also the Shiodome station of the Toei Oedo line, convenient for a quick and direct connection to Roppongi and Shinjuku.
The nearby Shimbashi station is an important railway hub. In addition to being the terminus station of the aforementioned Yurikamome, it is also an important JR station, served by the convenient Yamanote line circular line, as well as by the regional Keihin-Tohoku line, Yokosuka line and Tokaido Main line which connect Tokyo with the Kanagawa region and in particular with the city of Yokohama. Shimbashi is also served by two subway lines, the Tokyo Metro Ginza line and Toei Asakusa line.
Map of Shiodome, Tokyo
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin.
How to use Govoyagin
Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
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Take a look at Govoyagin
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